“Make it in Michigan, make it in America, invest in our communities and the workers in places like Warren,” Mr. Biden said. “That’s what this is about.”
At one point, Mr. Biden appeared to mix up the approximate number of military service members who have died of the coronavirus and the number of people in Michigan who have died from it. As he read from notes, he said that 6,000 service members had died of the virus; in fact, the number is seven.
Warren, where Mr. Biden spoke, sits in Macomb County, which is associated with white working-class voters who traditionally voted Democratic but embraced Ronald Reagan and, later, Mr. Trump and his criticism of a number of free trade deals. Mr. Biden has intensified his efforts in recent months to unveil more populist policies aimed at helping American workers. Some major labor unions praised his announcement on Wednesday, including the United Steelworkers.
In an interview with Fox 2 Detroit that aired later Wednesday, Mr. Biden also criticized elements of how the North American Free Trade Agreement was carried out under the George W. Bush administration, when asked to respond to scrutiny from the Trump campaign and others over his own support for NAFTA.
“The Bush administration did not keep its commitment on NAFTA, number one, and it was a mistake,” Mr. Biden said.
A Biden adviser said that he had not been calling NAFTA a mistake, but was referring to other aspects of trade policy under that administration concerning the agreement.
Last year, on the campaign trail, Mr. Biden said he did not regret his vote for the deal.
On Wednesday, Mr. Biden said, “I don’t accept the defeatist view that the forces of automation and globalization mean we can’t keep good-paying union jobs here in America, and create more of them,” adding, “I don’t buy for one second that the vitality of American manufacturing is a thing of the past.”